IDC: Visibility a Key Aspect for High Performing Consulting Firms
By Kevin Permenter, Senior Research Analyst, International Data Corporation (IDC)
In my last blog, IDC Shares Key Selection Criteria for ERP and PSA Software, I discussed how user experience is a key criterion when selecting technology to help organizations do more with less, while navigating the current competitive landscape. While this remains true, project-based services businesses can’t afford to give up functionality for ease of use when it comes to technology, especially for ERP and PSA solutions.
Visibility across the organization and business from pursuit to engagement close out is an absolute must in today’s market. This is especially so within project-oriented markets where time and resources are precious. Our discussion with project and engagement managers in industries like financial services, management consulting, design and engineering reveals the following top visibility challenges for project-oriented business models:
- Resource management. Companies often have to work with limited resources to staff engagements. As a result, many people are assigned to several tasks at once.
- Decision management. As resources are often spread over multiple engagements and multiple teams, it can be difficult to get the right information in front of the decision makers at the right time. As a result, decisions can be made within a vacuum.
- Conflict management. Engagements are often related (even overlapping), forcing people to share resources. As a result, any project delays may have a cascading effect on multiple related engagements
- Accountability management. As companies may have dozens even hundreds of engagements happening at the same time, it can also be difficult to continuously monitor and manage milestones and budgets. As a result, there is more opportunity for issues with accountability and personal responsibility.
All these issues negatively impact engagement visibility and add an unwanted layer of difficulty to delivering on customer expectations regarding outcomes/deliverables. Being able to quickly know what types of engagements are profitable and identify the type of business to pursue, how much margin is required for each engagement, what the backlog looks like and what resources are needed for the next six months are all keys to success today. Answering these questions are not attainable without true visibility from an end-to-end solution like Vantagepoint.
Designed from the ground up by consultants for consultants, Vantagepoint is built on 30 years of project expertise and is designed to help customers navigate today’s modern digital workplace and improve client satisfaction. Vantagepoint's performance and toolset allow for real-time information about engagement progress, resource allocation, and financial performance with a single solution. Designed to be used anywhere, anytime and built with consulting industry specific features and an intuitive interface which enhances visibility throughout the project lifecycle. Vantagepoint provides users with the tools to cope with the demands in today’s service economy such as:
- Single source of truth. Firms can monitor the health of their business in real-time with a single source of truth. This provides insight into the status of bench and backlog, so that firms can identify gaps, and increase their win rates. This then, allows firms to manage engagements from pursuit to closeout in one place with an engagement hub.
- Voice-enabled interaction: Vantagepoint incorporates voice recognition technology to enable end users to accomplish everyday tasks like finding/creating contacts.
- Advanced set of tools: Vantagepoint provide a strong set of tools to manage engagement tasks including interactive proposal builder, an engagement hub, proposal templates and interactive invoicing tools. The software also allows end users to collaborate and share information through conversations, tasks, document sharing and calendar items.
Going forward, visibility is an essential aspect to high performance project-based companies. Those software providers with the right mix of performance and functionality will be well-positioned to help customers cope with the demands of today's digital business. With the introduction of Vantagepoint, Deltek aims to move the market for advanced cloud ERP forward. While there is a lot of investment happening within this market by software vendors of all sizes, those software vendors that use their deep understanding of the visibility challenges inherent to the project-oriented business model that will find themselves moving ahead of their competitors in the coming years.
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About the Author
As a senior research analyst with IDC’s Enterprise Applications team, Kevin M. Permenter provides insights and intelligence across multiple areas including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), order management, financial applications, and project and portfolio management. He assesses the interplay, challenges, and trends regarding various enterprise application deployment models like mobile enterprise applications and cloud models. He also develops and delivers his views, opinions, and analysis on the dynamics and evolution of this complex technology ecosystem.